During the incident of man’s fall in the garden of Eden and God’s encounter with both Adam and Eve, I do not see any sign of remorse, godly sorrow, or repentance. It seems that Adam and Eve took their judgment as final, e.g. what they deserved for their disobedience. It is sad that we do not read that they ever earnestly sought to establish any sort of renewed relationship with God.
Even though God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, in His love He never completely withdrew His presence from them. His presence was still with them even though we do not read about them seeking, petitioning, or calling upon Him for a closer walk.
Before and after the murder of Abel by Cain, God spoke to Cain and gave instructions to drop his anger: “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”
Abel’s offering was accepted because it was a blood-atoning offering, but Cain would not humble himself and offer what Abel had done and instead he murdered his brother. He was driven out from the presence of the Lord which was a hard thing for Cain to bear.
We read in Genesis 4:25: “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Eve’s words show that her heart was still soft towards God, but sad to say, there was no mention of Adam’s desire to renew a close communion with God. It was only when Seth’s son, Enos, was born that “then began men to call upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26). This implies that Enos, the third generation from Adam started a spiritual revival of calling upon the name of the Lord.
This is the point where true repentance brings forth salvation and reestablishes communion and relationship with God. This is what Abel began and for which he was murdered. This is what God had respect for. This is what the patriarchs of Israel did—built altars, offered up the blood of animals, and called upon the name of the Lord.
Cain’s offering exemplified the good works of man for which God had no respect. Abel’s offering got God’s full attention.
This respect had to be something physical, such as fire coming down and consuming the offering, or Cain’s anger would not have been so stirred up against his brother and God. It took another generation to catch the revelation that the blood of the lamb is the only way to establish peace and communion with God.